Running orders are particularly hard to draw, not just in Eurovision but in any competition. Organisers need to balance variety with style, while also considering that there is a show to run. In the context of Eurovision, running orders can also help or hinder you and your competition.
Why are running orders so important?
As mentioned, running orders can put you in good stead or ruin your chances depending on where you fall and what the songs on either side of you. If a song requires a big bombastic moment, putting it next to other high-energy songs will do little to make the impact the delegation hoped for. Similarly, if a song is stripped back, having a string of emotional ballads will make it harder to stand out.
But it isn’t just the delegations that should be kept in focus – the viewer also takes precedence. Think back to 2012, when Englebert Humperdinck kicked off the grand final -with a pared back and intimate love song. Eurovision is a collection of music, by all means, but many switch off the first song if it’s deemed to be tiring or a “buzzkiller”. For a television producer, it’s a logistical nightmare – which in part – helped to inform the change to a producer-led running order from 2013.
Semi-Final One: A potential running order
With this in mind, this is my (personal) attempt to create a running order for the first semi-final for Eurovision 2022. Semi-final 1 is a textbook way of implementing the so-called “sawtooth method”. This means that in a running order, an upbeat track is usually followed by a more downbeat offering, alternating until the end of the show. So, how would I go about it?
#1 – Latvia – “Eat Your Salad”
I know what you’re thinking – it’s a very risky opening song with some *questionable* lyrics. However, there’s no denying that a song like this would set the tone for the rest of the evening. At 115 beats per minute, it would be enough to start the show in an upbeat, funky manner. Also, with a colourful and (potentially) controversial performance, it would be a memorable beginning to proceedings.
#2 – Slovenia – “Disko”
Carrying on with the funky theme, Slovenia would continue the flow of the show from the more outlandish Latvia. “Disko” is similar in genre, but slow enough to feel like a different song, and with a younger demographic, those who didn’t enjoy Latvia would find this as more of a palette cleanser. Slovenia is used to the #2 spot, as Ana Soklic sang in that position in Rotterdam, but LPS could have more success.
#3 – Ukraine – “Stefania”
Traditionally, #3 in a semi-final is rocky territory, with last year proving it between “Russian Woman” qualifying in third place, whilst “Omaga” finished in 15th place. If I were to put a bet on how it would work out, I would err on the side of the former, as “Stefania” packs a punch – both musically and visually. When placed after Slovenia, the song can offer a switch in style so that viewers can remain interested.
#4 – Lithuania – “Sentimentai”
After three successive bands, it would easily be time for a change in artist. Lithuania’s Monika Liu would help to switch up the visuals on stage, as she would be only the second woman performing so far (following Zala Velenšek from Slovenia’s LPS). Similarly, the more lounge style would help with the “sawtooth method”, and could also continue the non-English language streak, offering variety in language and aesthetic.
#5 – Switzerland – “Boys Do Cry”
“Boys Do Cry” is an outlier in the more beat-reliant songs in the first half of Semi-Final One. However, after four relatively high intense songs, putting Switzerland here would offer a vital respite for viewers who could be tired out. Typically, commercial breaks take place after song 5 and as a result, it can create a good opportunity to calm down and prepare for what else is on offer.
#6 – Albania – “Sekret”
After the commercial break, viewers could be ready for a more hyped performance. Step forward Ronela Hajati – who has hinted at intense choreography and an intricate act. The song is also a perfect blend of commerciality and culture that would be great to bring the audience back to the competitive aspect of the show. Also, staging potential is a factor to consider, and with a bombastic arrangement, it could very easily be used to contrast with Switzerland’s more intimate offering.
#7 – Bulgaria – “Intention”
Bulgaria would help to bring the motif of male-led bands following a string of solo performers. The rock aspect of “Intention” would also help to break up the stylistic variety in the running order so far. However, despite the switch in genre, the upbeat nature would continue from Albania, going from 100 beats per minute in “Sekret” to 80 bpm in “Intention”, helping to carry on the flow of the show.
#8 – The Netherlands – “De Diepte”
With a relatively fewer number of ballads in the first half of the semi-final, S10 from the Netherlands would be a natural fit to help space the number of high-intensity songs out. ‘De Diepte’ would also require more intimate moments on stage. So putting it in between Bulgaria and Moldova would help the Netherlands to stand out hard, both visually and aurally.
#9 – Moldova – “Trenulețul”
Ending the songs competing in the first half of the first semi-final would be Moldova, a peppy and cultural offering which would counteract S10’s more understated offering. “Trenulețul” could help to blend well with songs from the upcoming half and would end the number of large male groups to provide further diversity. Not to mention, the potential for culture shock for viewers…in a good way?
#10 – Denmark – “The Show”
Kicking off the second half of the semi-final requires a colourful punch, and this could easily be done by Reddi from Denmark. Basing off their performance at Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, the colour-filled aesthetic the girls bring help to set them apart from the other competition. Not to mention, these are also the first female-led group of the competition, and it helps to diversity the numerous rock songs in the evening.
#11 – Greece – “Die Together”
Time for another female ballad, and while ‘Die Together’ is just as high-impact as ‘The Show’, the more midtempo vibe of the show would help to control the speed of the competition. As well as this, Greece is spaced just far away from the Netherlands to not cancel each other out. The build-up of the song could additionally help to reach a real climax and offer a big moment onstage, depending on staging ideas.
#12 – Norway – “Give That Wolf A Banana”
It would seem like a real fit to follow on from the Greek-Norwegian Amanda Tenfjord to a Norwegian-based moon people. There are several reasons for putting Norway in the midst of the second half. Firstly, it would be a real visual shakeup of what we would have already seen in the show so far. Secondly, the electronic aspect of the song would stand out from the rock-dominated flow, which would put it in good stead. To finish it off, typically commercial breaks are also taken after song #12 – it would definitely leave the viewer with a lot to talk about!
#13 – Portugal – “saudade, saudade”
Back after commercials, it would be time to take the vibe down again and create another intimate moment on stage. The perfect candidate would be Portugal, with its relatively stripped back performance and potential for a visual treat. Portugal have been able to hone their staging skills in recent years and with some tweaks to their performance at Festival da Cancao, Maro would be able to appeal to the audience and kick off the final third of the show in a quality, professional manner.
#14 – Croatia – “Guilty Pleasure”
It would be a gentle transition to go from Portugal to Croatia, both being single female performers deep in the feelings of their song. With a transition from a track at 83 bpm to 84 bpm, it helps the general flow of the show. However, Mia offers more of a story to her song through new staging and as a result, those that might not find anything particularly interesting in ‘saudade, saudade’ could be get more from ‘Guilty Pleasure’.
#15 – Austria – “Halo”
Carrying on in the switch-ups in the second half, Austria would fit perfectly in the changing of genre and style. After two relatively similar songs, ‘Halo’ would help to shift the direction of the show and inject some much-needed energy into the flow. With a tempo of 150 bpm, placing Austria amongst the remaining songs would help it stand out and leave it in the minds of viewers, even with two songs to go.
#16 – Iceland – “Með hækkandi sól“
The perfect penultimate song in the running order would be Iceland. Offering a direct contrast to ‘Halo’, Systur’s offering would act as a palette-cleanser ahead of the final song. The more intimate production, paired with the country-style aesthetic could offer an audiovisual shift and calm the audience down after the preceding track.
#17 – Armenia – “SNAP”
Just like that, we are immediately at the final song – Armenia’s ‘SNAP’. This might be an unusual song to end on, but with a hypnotic, anthemic beat – Rosa Linn’s track would be a great way to end the competition on a high note. As well as this, ‘SNAP’s ability to allow Rosa to adlib could reach a natural climax, leaving the viewer satisfied after the final note is sung.
Of course, this is just a prediction and not the official running order. Predictions could be wildly off or exact, but any exact placements are just a coincidence.
What do you think of our attempt to pitch a running order for Semi-Final One? Do you agree with our reasonings? If not, how would you put the running order for the events? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. As well as this, be sure to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more editorials!
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Photo Source: EBU